Apr 29, 2013

Many People Use Satanic Methods Without Realizing It ... No Excuse!

Common Sense Commentary: Atheism is not the opposite of God, it is the
absence of God in the life of an unbeliever.

The Satanic Bible

 The primary character flaws, of Lucifer, which drove his actions and cost him
his exalted position as the "Light Reflector" of God, was, lying, jealousy, greed,
hatred and lust for power. He didn't lose those failures when he lost his light and
was left in the darkness of Genesis 1:2. At that point, his greatest goal was in
tricking Adam and Eve and their descendants, the entire human race, into similar disobedience and rebellion against our Creator, God.  His initial accusation
against God was lying about God, and then, twisting God's word, and calling
God the liar.... "Hath God said ye shall not eat of every tree ...." That is not
what God said. God said, "Of every tree  ... thou mayest  freely eat...." except
one.  Then Lucifer said,  in direct contradiction of God's warning that they would
die, if they disobeyed,"Ye shall not surely die...."  So Satanism is lying against
God and, in turn, denying and contradicting what God Himself says in His word, 
and calling God the liar besides.

 Satan's twisting of God's word is both lying and calling God a liar.  This is the
primary identifying characteristic of Satanism, though it may be done more
subtitle or deceptively.

To give you just one up-to-date example of Satanism, in the last 50 years, I
will direct your attention to "The Satanic Bible" published by Anton LaVey
in 1969. It contains the core principles of the religion of LaVeyan Satanism.

The Satanic Bible

“Satanism advocates practicing a modified form of the Golden Rule.
 Our interpretation of this rule is: "Do unto others as they do unto
you"; because if you "Do unto others as you would have them do
unto you," and they, in turn, treat you badly, it goes against human nature to continue to treat them with consideration. You should do
unto others as you would have them do unto you, but if your courtesy
 is not returned, they should be treated with the wrath they deserve.”  "wrath"? RBAnton Szandor LaVey, The Satanic Bible

This is, of course, the opposite of what Jesus
was teaching his disciples. I have heard the
Golden Rule perverted to "He who has the
gold rules", which is bad enough, but the
perversion of Satanism is worse. It not only
encourages an extreme reaction to a minor
offence, but violence in response to
unimportant and even unintentional rudeness.
I have observed this heresy, most commonly,
in prison populations and in the streets where
most of those prisoners came from. You hear
it so often in prisons and jails ... "I stabbed
him cause he disrespected me".  The victim
may not have even known why he was
stabbed.  The attacker may have felt
disrespected because the other guy
looked at him wrong or mispronounced
his name  or some other innocuous
infraction that most people would overlook
or not even hear.  Married couples sometimes
get so angry at each other that neither can
say anything at all which is not taken out
of context or twisted to justify their shouting
 and screaming reaction .  Often, the other
person didn't say it wrong, the offended
one hears it wrong or latches on to any
little thing they can pervert. I have
even seen this Satanic reaction in church
members who are out of sorts with someone
they don't like or disagree with.   Whoever
uses this method in their disagreements
with others, it is wrong, and a method
of Satanism. It is also commonly seen
among Muslims in their dealings
with those they call, "Infidels".
They can lie to them, rape them, steal
from them and even kill them with
impunity.  What it is .... is Satanism. RB

Link: http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2983296.AntonSzandorLaVey

From Wikipedia:

The Satanic Bible is a collection of essays, observations, and rituals published by Anton LaVey in 1969. It contains the core principles of
the religion of LaVeyan Satanism, and is considered the foundation
of its philosophy and dogma.[1] It has been described as the most important document to influence contemporary LaVeyan Satanism.
[2] Though The Satanic Bible is not considered to be sacred
scripture in the way the Christian Bible is to Christianity, LaVeyan Satanists regard it as an authoritative text[1] as it is a
contemporary text that has attained for them scriptural status.[3]
It extols the virtues of exploring one's own nature and instincts. Believers have been described as "atheistic Satanists"[4] because
they believe that God is not an external entity, but rather something that each person creates as a projection of his or her own personality—a benevolent and stabilizing force in his or her life.
[5][6] There have been thirty printings of The Satanic Bible,[7]
through which it has sold over a million copies.[8]







Apr 28, 2013

Unforgiveness Backfires! Forgiveness Shoots Straight To The Heart

Common Sense Commentary:

Forgiveness is giving up a prideful grudge against someone and giving, in it's place, an humble obedience to God. Forgiveness of an offender is not easy, but it is easier than the burden and decay of an unforgiving spirit. The more spiritually mature and wise a person becomes, the quicker and more sincere their willingness to forgive. Grieving unforgiveness is opposite to the essence of God and robs a person of time, peace, joy, love and even health. To aim an unforgiving grudge at another person is as self-destructive as aiming a shotgun, whose barrel is full of dried mud, at them ... and pulling the trigger.  Unforgiveness does far more damage to the unforgiving heart than it does to it's target. That is why, when Simon Peter asked Jesus how many times he must forgive his brother, Jesus answered, "seventy times seven". Jesus knew, not only the redeeming power of forgiveness upon the guilty, but the abundance of the fruit of the spirit within the forgiving heart. Love is far more powerful than hate. Love gives life to the giver and the receiver.  Hate gives only regret, pain and death. RB

"Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?   Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven." Matt.18:21-22. 

Apr 26, 2013

When Is A Co-Incidence A Divinely Appointed Incidence

Common Sense Commentary:  "And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, To morrow the LORD shall do this thing ...." Ex.9:5. Nothing is accidental with God and we are "called according to His purpose". Rom.8:28. RB

            By Unknown Musician

This is a very good example of a "God-incidence."  (Similar to what many people call a "co-incidence").

The SPARROW at STARBUCKS - The song that silenced the cappuccino machine.

It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbucks shop on 51st Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times Square. Early November weather in New York City holds only the slightest hint of the bitter chill of late December and January, but it's enough to send the masses crowding indoors to vie for available space and warmth. For a musician, it's the most lucrative Starbucks location in the world, I'm told, and consequently, the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes right.

Apparently, we were striking all the right chords that night, because our basket was almost overflowing. It was a fun, low-pressure gig - I was playing keyboard and singing backup for my friend who also added rhythm with an arsenal of percussion instruments. We mostly did pop songs from the '40s to the '90s with a few original tunes thrown in.

During our emotional rendition of the classic, "If You Don't Know Me by Now," I noticed a lady sitting in one of the lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing along.

After the tune was over, she approached me. "I apologize for singing along on that song. Did it bother you?" she asked.

"No," I replied. "We love it when the audience joins in. Would you like to sing up front on the next selection?" To my delight, she accepted my invitation. "You choose," I said. "What are you in the mood to sing?"

"Well. ... do you know any hymns?" Hymns? This woman didn't know who she was dealing with. I cut my teeth on hymns. Before I was even born, I was going to church. I gave our guest singer a knowing look. "Name one."

"Oh, I don't know. There are so many good ones. You pick one."

"Okay," I replied. "How about 'His Eye is on the Sparrow'?"

My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on mine again and said, "Yeah. Let's do that one." She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her jacket and faced the center of the shop. With my two-bar setup, she began to sing, "Why should I be discouraged? Why should the shadows come?"

The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of the cappuccino machine ceased as the employees stopped what they were doing to listen. The song rose to its conclusion.

"I sing because I'm happy; I sing because I'm free. For His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me."

When the last note was sung, the applause crescendoed to a deafening roar that would have rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout over the din, "Oh, y'all go back to your coffee! I didn't come in here to do a concert! I just came in here to get somethin' to drink, just like you!"

But the ovation continued.. I embraced my new friend. "You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!"

"Well, it's funny that you picked that particular hymn," she said.

"Why is that?"
"Well," she hesitated again, "that was my daughter's favorite song." “Really!" I exclaimed.

"Yes," she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this time, the applause had subsided and it was business as usual... "She was 16. She died of a brain tumor last week."

I said the first thing that found its way through my stunned silence. "Are you going to be okay?"

She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed my hands. "I'm gonna be okay. I've just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs, and everything's gonna be just fine." She picked up her bag, gave me her card, and then she was gone.

Was it just a coincidence that we happened to be singing in that particular coffee shop on that particular November night? Coincidence that this wonderful lady just happened to walk into that particular shop? Coincidence that of all the hymns to choose from, I just happened to pick the very hymn that was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just the week before? I refuse to believe it.

God has been arranging encounters in human history since the beginning of time, and it's no stretch for me to imagine that he could reach into a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an ordinary gig into a revival. It was a great reminder that if we keep trusting him and singing his songs, everything's gonna be okay.

The next time you feel like GOD can't use YOU, remember, Noah was a drunk, Abraham was too old, Isaac was a daydreamer, Jacob was a liar, Leah was ugly, Joseph was abused, Moses had a stuttering problem, Gideon was afraid, Samson had long hair and was a womanizer, Rahab was a prostitute, Jeremiah and Timothy were too young, David had an affair and was a murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Isaiah preached naked, Jonah ran from God, Peter denied Christ, The Disciples fell asleep while praying, And Lazarus was dead!

No more excuses now!! God can use you to your full potential. Besides you aren't the message, you are just the messenger.

Apr 25, 2013

It Really Doesn't Matter What Happens If You Are A Christian

Common Sense Commentary:

When you became a Christian, the process included....(1) Hearing... the word of God. Rom.10:17.  (2) Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 16:31. (3) Repenting of your sins. Luke 13:3-5. (4) Accepting God's forgiveness through faith in Christ. Eph.1:7.

If that has happened in your life, you have "loved the Lord" ever since  (Matt.22:37), are "called according to His purpose" (Rom.8:28), and "all things work together for your good."  "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

"ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD ".... to you if you are saved. So, it really doesn't matter what happens if you are a true Christian. If you sin and do not repent, God's judgement and conviction upon you make you wish you had and brings you to repentance and you learn to stay repented up and not to do that thing again ... So, that is good.

If you suffer tribulation and trials, God's word says, "Tribulation worketh patience" Rom.5:3. So, it too "works together for good" to you.  That's why the Apostle Paul said, "We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience ...."

If the national economy ... and yours... falls apart and we are all short of food and necessities, 95% of us eat too much and have too much anyway, so if we are forced to work harder and eat less, that combination "works together for our good".  It shapes us up, trims us down, and turns our hearts back to the Lord and teaches us to trust in and rest in Him ... that's really good for all of us.

Even if worse comes to worst and we get sick and die ... and wake up in heaven, how is that not good for those who love the Lord?

So, it isn't the hard times of tribulation that are bad for us but the easy times when everything is smooth, food is plenteous, we are fat, lazy and content. That's when we take God, our health, our family and our jobs for granted. Those are the times that are so bad for our relationships, our health and our fellowship with God. That is why the church has always flourished and done the most good during times of persecution and hardship.

So, it would seem that my title is wrong.  It really does matter what happens.  It's the hard times that bring people to their knees and repentance. It's the hard times that reveal to us our need for the Lord. It's the hard times that knock the weight off our bones, strengthen us, and draw families together .... far more than the easy times.  
So let us "glory in tribulation" with the Apostle Paul as we leave the bad old good times and enter the good old bad times. God makes lemonade out of lemons, strength out of weakness, and victory out of defeat. Why on earth would we worry when our blessed hope and every good thing is in heaven?  RB

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17.

Apr 23, 2013

Damnable Money... Be Holy, Give It Away Quick

 Common Sense Commentary: Christianity is consistent. Religiosity is contradictory.

There is a certain phantom, bloodsucking bat flitting around in most churches that lites on the necks of random members who have duel, conflicting emotions concerning money. Secretly they worship it, but publicly they pretend to have no love for it and ridicule those "money grubbing people" who lurk all around and "live to accumulate the filthy lucre", including the pastor who asks for some of it every single Sunday.  They will swear that money means nothing to them while they pinch every penny which passes anywhere near them  and lust for the stuff it buys.  I know people who don't work, witness on the street, criticize the rich ... but take their gifts of money and go rushing to McDonald's with a huge grin on their face. INCONSISTENCY! They remind me of an employee we once had who weighed 300 pounds but nobody ever saw him eat anything except a little broth for lunch. He swore he ate very little at home either.  There is no way to gain weight or carry around 300 pounds while working hard and eating nothing.

The money worshipers, who damn money, and all "those greedy souls who hoard it", but themselves adore it in private, are, of course, hypocritical, but lecture everyone around them that, "Money is the root of all evil and we must not allow it to destroy our souls". After all, they say, Jesus told us to "give" it away ... but they, themselves don't even tithe or give tips to the waitress.  And how can you "give" it if you haven't accumulated some of the odious stuff?  Actually, the Bible says it is "The love of money" that "is the root of all evil", not money itself.  And, when Jesus said, "Give", He finished the sentence, "and it shall be given unto you...." abundantly. So why would your obedient giving set off a chain reaction of evil wealth upon your generous soul?  If money is damnable stuff, why did God say, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse..." ? What use does God have for such offensive, corrupting stuff.  If it is bad, leave it at home. Why bring it into the church? Is it a contradiction that God tells us to "give" the damnable stuff to some innocent, sick or handicapped person, and thereby corrupt them with it?  That's like a guy I know who quit smoking and drinking whiskey, because it was sinful and bad for your health, but gave his pack and bottle to his brother to keep from wasting it.

As in every other issue and Biblical doctrine, the subject of money must be bathed in reason, logic, honesty and exactly what the Bible actually says about it.  Try not to go to seed on weeds in a garden of good stuff. RB

Apr 22, 2013

Paper Guarantees Of Gold... Are Not Gold, They Are Green Paper Promises

Common Sense Commentary: The Devil has a counterfeit for everything from Counterfeit Christs, Counterfeit Christians, Counterfeit Bibles, Counterfeit money and Counterfeit Gold in the form of a piece of green paper that promises, "This note, bill, contract, option or future represents real gold we owe you, and have in our possession, in storage for you."  The greatest con-game of all time. RB

The following article by Jim Sinclair was published in King World News this week.

Sinclair: Physical Gold Buyers Will Now Crush Central Planners

Gold is freeing itself as an emancipation process from the gold banks control via paper gold that has no gold whatsoever involved in it. The thralldom of the gold price ends when the Evil Kings of Gold, the Gold Banks, are clearly proven to have no gold clothes on.

 The emancipation of gold from paper is now in progress as physical demand increases unperturbed, and rather pleased by the lower price of the metal of kings. The central planning fools, in their effort to try and break the mystique of gold via a paper crash, have only ignited what once was sparks into flames for its physical accumulation....
“They do not understand that the day demand stands for full delivery at a contract maturity, even at these low prices, the fraudulent nature of the gold future, gold lease, and OTC gold hedges is revealed and therefore destroyed.
This could occur in gold at any price and need not be foreshadowed by a rise in the price of the metal. Since there is no gold anywhere and above ground supplies are now being significantly consumed by us, the physical gold market will set the price unencumbered by governments or manipulators. This freedom from manipulation by paper is the emancipation of gold.
Every time you buy one ounce of physical gold you cast your vote against the system and its masters, the banksters. These sociopaths rule by being bullies and committing fraud. Their days are numbered and gold is the ‘White Knight’ that is going to slay the evil dragon.
The biggest mistake the central planners have made is to depress paper gold, which they thought would stop the physical run on gold. They have ignored the fact that the Cyprus plan for confiscation of depositors' funds, originally at all levels of wealth, plus their clear call for nationalization of retirement accounts and funds, has gone viral around the entire world. No amount of denial will now stop the average person or the wealthiest of individuals from seeking other means to privatize and protect their wealth.
We all know that the next move of central planers can be predicted as currency controls. Consequently the trend to buying gold, seeking out of the system storage and closing down of large in the system deposit accounts and in the system retirement accounts, will now only accelerate.
The central planners in their infinite lack of wisdom have, by bombing the gold price, simply made the source of the problem more transparent and added huge short positions to the no gold behind paper fraud. KWN readers around the world have to keep in mind that the central planners have never, in all of history, succeeded in eliminating gold's role as money, or as a timeless protection of savings.
If the COT report does not reveal an enormous growth in the short position in gold then it will be revealed as being as much of a fraud as was the LIBOR rate. That is not too hard to understand when you recognize the exact people who gave you LIBOR are also the major architects of the COT.
We live in evil times wherein there will be no hesitation for the sharks to attack the other sharks when a severe weakness has been exposed. The Federal Reserve in NYC and Morgan may have a common tunnel between their precious metals depository, but given an opportunity, based on any weakness, either would attack the other for profit.
Governments annoyed by the prejudicial Cyprus 'bail-in' proposals, knowing that gold does not exist behind paper, need only accelerate their physical purchases to further expose the weakness that the now non-functioning fractional gold paper system has exposed.
This is why two of the professionals that did recognize $1900 as a price the Banksters were most uncomfortable with also see this month as the culmination of an attempt to destroy physical demand by crushing the paper price. I cannot speak for Mr. Fennen, but I know that is Polny’s view. We are witnessing history here, and before this is over the physical gold buyers will crush the central planners.” Jim Sinclair
 And beyond that time-frame, God will do an even better job of it. You see, all of this is not about  real gold vs. lying paper promises. It is about the tactics of Satan in bringing the world economy down so he can inspire world bankers and governments, with their hysterical followers support, to establish a one world currency by which anti-Christ will gain control of  a one world government. It is all prophesied.  RB



Apr 20, 2013

It Is Sometimes Shocking Where You Find Integrity

Common Sense Commentary:  Integrity Is Every Christian's Calling.


Young, Dying, U.S. Soldiers And An Enemy Officer

My Army buddy, Ed Reeves, died recently, after serving our Lord in his unique ministry for over 60 years ... since surviving the Chosin Reservoir Battle. Ed and I had the Korean war and God in common. Ed came nearer dying, in North Korea during the winter of 1950-51, than I did. He was wounded three times, and was on a truck of wounded, in a convoy of 30 trucks full of  wounded Army boys. They were on the East side of the Chosin, when his regimental commander was killed, and that followed by the death of that officer's replacement, Col. Don Faith (See  my 4-17-13 Blog). Their Regiment had been overrun by Chinese Communist forces and almost totally wiped out.  Ed found himself, wounded, freezing in 30 below zero weather, and starving, on a truck of dying, wounded soldiers. All of you have heard my account of Ed's horrific experience, on that rapidly dying, stranded  convoy of wounded soldiers, and how God miraculously delivered him as the only survivor on that convoy; But I've never shared an incident Ed told me about the first time he preached for me, at the church I pastored, in Tallahassee, Florida, many years ago. He had told but very few what he told me that day.  We were in my office remembering our time in North Korea. Ed's legs, below his knees, were gone, and all of his fingers and thumbs as well, to frost-bite. They froze on that truck and had to be removed after he was rescued.  He would raise his palms as he told me a story that he didn't share often because he didn't think people would believe him.   In the second or third day in that doomed convoy, no engines running, sitting or laying there, freezing with about 300 other's on those 30 trucks, a wounded soldier in the driver's seat of the truck Ed was on, shouted back, "Hey, here comes what looks like a high ranking Chinese officer.  He's stopping and talking to the guys in the other trucks.  Shortly, the Chinese officer appeared at the back of Ed's truck.  Ed told me the man spoke very good English and said, " I know you are all hungry and freezing. I would like to help you, but if I tried, I would be immediately shot. I cannot  help you but God knows your suffering and where you are, and you must trust Him. Only He can help you." With that, the officer proceeded on to the other trucks.  This man was putting his own life on the line. He could easily have been shot by one of the wounded U.S. soldiers, not to mention one of his own comrades.  Ed surmised that he was most likely educated in some American Missionary School in China, and was probably a Christian forced into service by the Communist Government.  I have often thought of the integrity it took for that Chinese Christian seeking to minister and comfort those young Americans... supposedly his enemy.

Another amazing story of unexpected integrity in the most unusual places, took place in World War II.

"You're In God's Hands Now..."

The 21-year old American B-17 pilot glanced outside his cockpit and froze. He blinked hard and looked again, hoping it was just a mirage. But his co-pilot stared at the same horrible vision. "My God, this is a nightmare," the co-pilot said, "He's going to destroy us," the pilot agreed.

The men were looking at a gray German Messerschmitt fighter hovering just three feet off their wingtip. It was five days before Christmas 1943, and the fighter had closed in on their crippled American B-17 bomber for the kill.

Brown's Crippled B-17 Stalked by Stigler's ME-109.

The B-17 pilot, Charles Brown, was a 21-year-old West Virginia farm boy on his first combat mission. His bomber had been shot to pieces by swarming fighters, and his plane was alone, struggling to stay in the skies above Germany. Half his crew was wounded, and the tail gunner was dead, his blood frozen in icicles over the machine guns.

But when Brown and his co-pilot, Spencer "Pinky" Luke, looked at the fighter pilot again, something odd happened. The German didn't pull the trigger. He stared back at the bomber in amazement and respect. Instead of pressing the attack, he nodded at Brown and saluted. What happened next was one of the most remarkable acts of chivalry recorded during World War II.

USAAF Lt. Charles Brown, was on his first combat mission during World War II when he met an enemy unlike any other.

Revenge, not honor, is what drove 2nd Lt. Franz Stigler to jump into his fighter that chilly December day in 1943. Stigler wasn't just any fighter pilot. He was an ace. One more kill and he would win The Knight's Cross, German's highest award for valor.

Yet Stigler was driven by something deeper than glory. His older brother, August, was a fellow Luftwaffe pilot who had been killed earlier in the war. American pilots had killed Stigler's comrades and were bombing his country's cities. Stigler was standing near his fighter on a German airbase when he heard a bomber's engine. Looking up, he saw a B-17 flying so low it looked like it was going to land. As the bomber disappeared behind some trees, Stigler tossed his cigarette aside, saluted a ground crewman and took off in pursuit.

As Stigler's fighter rose to meet the bomber, he decided to attack it from behind. He climbed behind the sputtering bomber, squinted into his gun sight and placed his hand on the trigger. He was about to fire when he hesitated. Stigler was baffled. No one in the bomber fired at him.

He looked closer at the tail gunner. He was still, his white fleece collar soaked with blood. Stigler craned his neck to examine the rest of the bomber. I ts skin had been peeled away by shells, its guns knocked out. One propeller wasn' turning. Smoke trailed from another engine. He could see men huddled inside the shattered plane tending the wounds of other crewmen.

Then he nudged his plane alongside the bomber's wings and locked eyes with the pilot whose eyes were wide with shock and horror.

Luftwaffe Major Franz Stigler, pressed his hand over the rosary he kept in his flight jacket. He eased his index finger off the trigger. He couldn't shoot. It would be murder.

Stigler wasn't just motivated by vengeance that day. He also lived by a code. He could trace his family's ancestry to knights in 16th century Europe. He had once studied to be a priest. A German pilot who spared the enemy, though, risked death in Nazi Germany. If someone reported him, he would be executed.

Yet Stigler could also hear the voice of his commanding officer, who once told him: "You follow the rules of war for you -- not your enemy. You fight by rules to keep your humanity."

Alone with the crippled bomber, Stigler changed his mission. He nodded at the American pilot and began flying in formation so German anti-aircraft gunners on the ground wouldn't shoot down the slow-moving bomber. (The Luftwaffe had B-17s of its own, shot down and rebuilt for secret missions and training.) Stigler escorted the bomber over the North Sea and took one last look at the American pilot. Then he saluted him, peeled his fighter away and returned to Germany.

"Good luck," Stigler said to himself. "You're in God's hands now…" Franz Stigler didn't think the big B-17 could make it back to England and wondered for years what happened to the American pilot and crew he
encountered in combat.

As he watched the German fighter peel away that December day, 2nd Lt. Charles Brown wasn't thinking of the philosophical connection between enemies. He was thinking of survival. He flew his crippled plan, filled with wounded, back to his base in England and landed with one of four engines knocked out, one failing and barely any fuel left. After his bomber came to a stop, he leaned back in his chair and put a hand over a pocket Bible he kept in his flight jacket. Then he sat in silence.

Brown flew more missions before the war ended. Life moved on. He got married, had two daughters, supervised foreign aid for the U.S. State Department during the Vietnam War and eventually retired to Florida.

Late in life, though, the encounter with the German pilot began to gnaw at him. He started having nightmares, but in his dream there would be no act of mercy. He would awaken just before his bomber crashed.

Brown took on a new mission. He had to find that German pilot. Who was he? Why did he save my life? He scoured military archives in the U.S. and England. He attended a pilots' reunion and shared his story. He
finally placed an ad in a German newsletter for former Luftwaffe pilots, retelling the story and asking if anyone knew the pilot.

On January 18, 1990, Brown received a letter. He opened it and read: "Dear Charles, All these years I wondered what happened to that B-17, did she make it home? Did her crew survive their wounds? To hear of your survival has filled me with indescribable joy..."

It was Stigler, he had had left Germany after the war and moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1953. He became a prosperous businessman. Now retired, Stigler told Brown that he would be in Florida come summer and "it sure would be nice to talk about our encounter." Brown was so excited, though, that he couldn't wait to see Stigler. He called directory assistance for Vancouver and asked whether there was a number for a Franz Stigler. He dialed the number, and Stigler picked up. "My God, it's you!" Brown shouted as tears ran down his cheeks.

Brown had to do more. He wrote a letter to Stigler in which he said: "To say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU on behalf of my surviving crew members and their families appears totally inadequate."

The two pilots would meet again, but this time in person, in the lobby of a Florida hotel. One of Brown's friends was there to record the summer reunion. Both men looked like retired businessmen: they were plump, sporting neat ties and formal shirts. They fell into each other' arms and wept and laughed. They talked about their encounter in a light, jovial tone.

The mood then changed. Someone asked Stigler what he thought about Brown. Stigler sighed and his square jaw tightened. He began to fight back tears before he said in heavily accented English: "I love you, Charlie."

Stigler had lost his brother, his friends and his country. He was virtually exiled by his countrymen after the war. There were 28,000 pilots who fought for the German air force. Only 1,200 survived. The war cost him everything. Charlie Brown was the only good thing that came out of World War II for Franz. It was the one thing he could be proud of. The meeting helped Brown as well, says his oldest daughter, Dawn Warner. They met as enemies but Franz Stigler, and Charles Brown, ended up as fishing buddies.

Brown and Stigler became pals. They would take fishing trips together. They would fly cross-country to each other homes and take road trips together to share their story at schools and veterans' reunions. Their wives, Jackie Brown and Hiya Stigler, became friends.

Brown's daughter says her father would worry about Stigler's health and constantly check in on him.

"It wasn't just for show," she says. "They really did feel for each other. They talked about once a week." As his friendship with Stigler deepened, something else happened to her father, Warner says "The nightmares went away."

Brown had written a letter of thanks to Stigler, but one day, he showed the extent of his gratitude. He organized a reunion of his surviving crew members, along with their extended families. He invited Stigler as a guest of honor. During the reunion, a video was played showing all the faces of the people that now lived -- children, grandchildren, relatives -- because of Stigler's act of chivalry. Stigler watched the film from his seat of honor.

"Everybody was crying, not just him," Warner says.

Stigler and Brown died within months of each other in 2008. Stigler was 92, and Brown was 87. They had started off as enemies, became friends, and then something more.

After he died, Warner was searching through Brown's library when she came across a book on German fighter jets. Stigler had given the book to Brown. Both were country boys who loved to read about planes. Warner opened the book and saw an inscription Stigler had written to Brown: In 1940, I lost my only brother as a night fighter. On the 20th of December, 4 days before Christmas, I had the chance to save a B-17 from her destruction, a plane so badly damaged it was a wonder that she was still flying. The pilot, Charlie Brown, is for me, as precious as my brother was. Thanks Charlie. Your Brother, Franz

Apr 19, 2013

Explosive Potential Of Gold Leasing Has Lit Its Own Fuse

Common Sense Commentary: "But all the silver, and gold ... are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD. Joshua 6:19.

Do not be misled by all the propaganda and manipulations of our Federal Reserve, the U.S. Treasury, Bullion Banks, IMF, BIS, LBMA, COMEX and most governments of the world.  Gold and Silver are at the center of the present Currency Wars, Inflation and the present plunge in the commodities markets, especially gold and silver. They all want fiat money (paper money) to remain on the throne so they can print endless amounts of it.  Not so with gold and silver. Below is a documentary just out on the history and roots of all this diversion. Watch the 2 part video and then come back and read the article below the following link.  RB



The Disappearing Gold.... (and silver)

International Man Communique
by Jeff Thomas
January 28, 2013

During the Cold War, Germany moved much of its gold to New York in case the USSR invaded Germany. It was assumed at that time that the US would be a safer storage location, and of course, they could always ask to have it returned if they wished.

But German citizens have become increasingly worried about the security of the 1,536 tonnes of German gold reputedly held at the Federal Reserve in New York. This has resulted in the Bundesbank pursuing repatriation of the gold, beginning with a request to view it in the basement of the Federal Reserve Building, where it is claimed to reside.

Of course, the German government had received periodic assurances from the Fed that the gold is there; however, the issue began to get a bit sticky recently, when the Fed refused a request for inspection.

The world then raised a collective eyebrow, and, whilst not panicking over this development just yet, closer attention has come to bear, not only on the Fed, but on any institution that is entrusted with the storage of gold for other parties.

Concern spread to Austria, where a question arose in Parliament as to where Austria’s gold is stored. The answer provided was that 80% of it (224.4 tonnes) is in the UK. (It was claimed that the reason for this is that, if a crisis of some kind were to occur, it could be more easily traded from London than from Vienna.)

Seems reasonable enough, except that the return of the gold to Austria, if it were requested, may be a bit difficult, as the gold seems to have been leased out by the UK.

To many, a second eyebrow might go up at this point. Lease out the wealth of another nation? Isn’t this a bit… irresponsible?

The New Gold Shuffle

Not to worry, it’s done all the time. In fact, the practice has been endorsed by none other than Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Fed. The gold is leased to a bullion bank, which typically pays one percent interest to the Fed, with a promise to return it on a specified date. The bullion bank then sells the gold on the open market and uses the proceeds to buy Treasury bonds, which will net a three to four percent return.

The nicest thing about such an arrangement is that the lessor continues to claim it on his balance sheet as a line item: “gold and gold receivables.” After all, an asset that we have leased out is still an asset, even if it has now been sold by the lessee.

In effect, this means that, if you bought a gold bar today, it is possible that it is a bar that was shipped from the Bundesbank to the Federal Reserve decades ago and is presently listed by the Fed on its balance sheet as “gold and gold receivables.”

Both you and the Fed are claiming to possess the same gold bar. The fly in the ointment, of course, is that only one bar can be the actual bar. The other is a receivable and therefore is an asset on paper only. This, of course, means that there is less gold in the world than has been claimed. How much less? That’s anyone’s guess.

The New Risks

But even if it became generally known that the Fed (and others) are holding paper, rather than physical gold, couldn’t we carry on as before? What could go wrong? Here are some immediate possibilities:

  • If there were a dramatic rise in the price of gold and the lessor were to call in the return of the gold by the bullion bank, the bullion bank could easily lose far more than the small two to three percent margin it had been enjoying.

  • If there were a crash in the bond market and hyperinflation set in, the bonds that the bullion bank had purchased could become worthless.

  • If the nations who shipped their gold to London and New York for safekeeping were to request their return, the storage banks could only deliver if they were to purchase gold at the current rate. If that rate were significantly above the rate at which the gold had been leased to the bullion banks, the storage banks would sustain a significant, possibly unsustainable, loss.

That’s quite a bit of risk.

In the present market, there are any number of possible triggers that could cause the people of Germany, Austria, or a host of other nations to demand that their gold be returned home. Indeed, pressure is on the increase. The governments who have shipped out their gold for “safekeeping” would have a lot of explaining to do to their constituents, if the storage banks are not forthcoming.

So, is it time for the odiferous effluvium to hit the fan? Not quite yet. Before that occurs, there will still be some dancing around by the Fed and others.

The Fed has already stated, in so many words, “We’re sorry, but we can’t let you have all your gold at one time, but we’d be prepared to send it to you over a period of years.”

For many observers, the present situation should be well beyond the point of the raised eyebrow. It should be glaringly apparent that the amount of gold presently claimed to be in storage in the world’s banks is, to a greater or lesser extent, overstated.

Continuing the Charade

The Bundesbank should, of course, now say, “I’m afraid that’s not good enough. It’s our gold. We’ve advised you how much of it we want back now, and we must insist that you produce it immediately.”

If they were to take this perfectly logical step and the Fed refused, there could be a run on the banks, and, very possibly, within as short a period as twenty-four hours, a worldwide bank holiday might be declared with regard to gold.

However, this is not what will transpire. Neither logic nor sound banking practices are the object here. The object is to maintain the charade that exists within the banking community. The Bundesbank is just as fearful of a run as the Fed and will be only too willing to accept the Fed’s terms.

What must be borne in mind is the root cause of the request. It was not the Bundesbank itself that originally wanted the transfer to take place; it was the German people who, quite rightly, have become distrustful of the fact that their gold has been in New York for so long and want to see it repatriated. It is not the banks who wish to correct the situation. Not one bank wishes to expose the inappropriate practices of any other bank. Their loyalty is to each other and not to their depositors.

So, is that it? Have we heard the last of this issue? I think not. The cat is out of the bag at this point, and the depositors’ distrust and uncertainty will not be quelled by the counter-offer. Tension will continue to mount amongst depositors, and, at some point, the situation will reach an impasse.

All those who presently have gold in a banking institution would be prudent to keep an eye on the present situation. We might consider taking delivery of any gold we have in a bank, wherever it may be. Regardless of what form it is in, from ETFs to allocated gold, we would do well to assess the degree to which we feel our gold is at risk. In doing so, we may determine that a gold account is more at risk in, say, a New York or London bank than a Swiss bank. (Not all banks will be equal in terms of risk.)

If we do resolve to divest ourselves of bank-related precious metal holdings, it would be prudent to take action soon. (Clearly, those who attempt to remove their wealth the day after a run has occurred tend to do less well than those who attempt to remove their wealth the day before the run.)

We might also consider whether a possible run may become systemic, causing a bank holiday on all the bank’s activities, thus freezing any currency that we may have on deposit. We may conclude that it is prudent to only retain in our bank enough money to allow cheques to clear – an amount sufficient to cover a few months’ expenses.

In the near future, we may well find that a significant amount of gold that is claimed to exist in the world will “disappear.” Whilst we cannot control this eventuality, we may be able to save the gold that is being held in our names from disappearing.

Many Preachers Have A Penchant For Trying To Make The Bible Say Only What Agrees With Their Belief

Common Sense Commentary: Jesus spoke the best known verse in the Bible. With complete openness and simplicity, He gave us, in 25 words, all a person needs to know to be saved. If there had been the slightest possibility that John 3:16 would confuse anyone, He would have more fully defined the verse. Read it for what it actually says ...without need of special  interpretation.

Here is what Jesus said: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
He did not say, "whosoever is predestined to believe ...", but "whosoever believeth"

If Jesus didn't mean exactly what He said, in that verse, or knew that some would misunderstand or be confused by it, He would have added whatever further comment was needed to make it clear. So what did He mean when He said, "For God so loved the world...."?  If God truly loved the whole world of people, all of them, and gave Jesus to die for their sins, He surely would not, then, reject most of them before they were ever born and pre-condemn the majority of the world's population, without reason.  If that, in fact, was what Jesus really meant to say, then God did not love them all in the first place if He had predestined them to unbelief.  Yes, of course, as He foreknows everything, He foreknew whether we would believe or not believe; But if He simply rejected some, and chose others, without consideration of each one's belief or unbelief in Jesus Christ as their Savior, and sent those He predestined to unbelief to hell, and those He predestined to believe to heaven, How can it be said that, "God so loved the world...."?

So why does He accept, forgive and save some of us and reject others ... if we are all sinners alike? The clear, full answer to that is in the second half of the verse. "...that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Again, Jesus said exactly, clearly and fully what He intended. "that whosoever believeth in him ..." does not have some deeper theological meaning that some pre-convinced, predestined, elected and foreordained, Calvinist, theological professor must explain how that "whosoever" does not include those who will not believe because they can not  believe because they were predestined not to believe by God, who "loved" them but did not want them even if they wanted Him????

That interpretation of predestination turns a straight line into a circular saw which keeps coming back to where it started and destroys reason , consistency and personal accountability with every turn.

The Calvinistic (word not in the Bible) Professor would counter that we are saved by grace not by works, to which I would agree, but, he would argue that "the prayer of faith, if not faith itself, is a work and we are not saved by works".  Paul admonished Timothy not to strive about words in 1 Tim.6:14 & 2 Tim.2:14.   Faith is that mustard seed which germinates when exposed to the word of God...  "So then faith cometh by hearing ... the word of God." Rom.10:17.    In this verse, both "faith" and "hearing" are gifts from God, one spiritual and one physical. It is a result not a work.  Faith does not come from works; works come from faith.  Accepting Christ's salvation invitation,  ".... whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved", is not a work.  A Calvinist believes this prayer is a work. It is not a work, it is a spiritual prayer of faith. And why would God even  give the invitation to "whosoever", if it were not possible for every person to reject Christ and remain lost or to accept Him and be saved? Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved and is  "destined" for heaven and whosoever does not call upon the name of the Lord shall not be saved and is destined for hell.   Since God "Foreknew" it, that alone makes it "pre-destined". Rom. 8:29.

Accepting Christ's invitation to "Come unto me" is neither work nor physical action. It is a spiritual response to a spiritual invitation. Christ did all the work, took all the action and offered the results to me freely .... without charge of any kind. My spiritual choice was to accept or reject His spiritual, free gift ... spiritually not physically. He does not force those invited to respond positively or negatively... No choice.  The spiritual choice is yours. The gift is fully paid for. You cannot lift a finger, pay a penny or say a word to earn it or pay for it. Your spirit, not your body, responds or does not respond to an eternal, spiritual invitation. Your spirit thinks "yes" or "no" to God. If your spirit says "yes", it sets in motion a lifetime series of repentance, faith and good works ... "because" you are forgiven and born again, not "in order" to be forgiven and born again. Those good works are after the fact of salvation and neither saved you nor keep you saved.  The same free grace that saved you keeps you secure in Christ...
not your good works in this weak, fleshly body. RB

Apr 18, 2013

All Power, Presence, Knowledge, Holiness And Truth Are God's

Common Sense Commentary: God's Glory cannot be overstated.

God always knows the whole truth. He not only knows all truth, all truth is His truth. Truth is the avenue of God, His work place, his law, His domain. More than that, God IS truth. "I am the ... truth...." Jn.14:6.  Every good thing is His without the slightest negative or shadow of turning.  "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17.  It is an understatement to say that, "God does not lie." ...... "God ... cannot lie...." Titus 1:2. There is no speck of falsehood, deception, error or exaggeration in Him. Satan is not the opposite of God, he is the absence of God. Satan is ..."a liar and the father of it", Jn.8:44, but he is less than the opposite of God. His evil is not as wicked as God's goodness is holy. He is not the opposite of God, for that would make him equally as bad as God is good..... balanced at opposite extremes. Satan's extreme is limited .... God's is not. Satan is as bad as it is possible to be. God is holier than it is possible to be, for His holiness is infinite, immeasurable and eternal... even as His power, presence a knowledge are infinite and immeasurable.  Do not compare Satan's negatives to God's positives. Satan's negativity is nothing, minus zero, emptiness, absence, whereas, God's holiness and glory are everything, plus infinity, plus eternity, plus power, presence and knowledge "... all in all." 1 Cor.15:28.  It is impossible to over estimate God, His power, His presence, His knowledge, His holiness or His truth.... but keep trying ... keep trying. RB

Apr 17, 2013

Korean War Hero's Remains Finally Come Home. God Rest His Soul ... Don Faith

Common Sense Commentary: I shall never forget these brave brothers in arms. RB
Some of you "old" Temple Members will remember My Army buddy and fellow survivor, Ed Reeves.  He preached for us and gave his testimony of survival of the Chosin Reservoir Battle, each time.  I am including, below, a video about Ed's Commanding Officer, on the East side of the Chosin Reservoir. His name was, Lt.Col.
Don Faith and he had just assumed command of that Army Regiment after the death of his predecessor, a few hours earlier, in the same battle.
Ed  was on one of the thirty Army trucks of wounded, mentioned in the video, and was one, if not the only wounded man, in that convoy of wounded, to survive. He told me that the Chinese first burned those trucks by draining gas from them, throwing it into the back of the trucks and burning the wounded soldiers alive. His truck had no gas in it because of a bullet ruptured gas tank, so the Chinese simply shot everyone in his truck, including him. But Ed played dead, was later dragged off the truck, bashed in the head and thrown on a pile of dead, from which he later crawled away and onto the frozen reservoir where our USMC Col. Beal found him and brought him back into our Marine lines at Hagaru-ri. Beal rescued dozens of soldiers with his jeep and trailer from off the frozen reservoir. The remains of those 30 trucks were "later" bombed with napalm, by our air, and completely destroyed. Ed died recently but has preached, for the church I pastored in Tallahassee, several times over the years. He was wounded three times and lost both legs, to the knees, and all his fingers and thumbs to frost-bite. This article does not mention the fact that the trucks were first burned, with the wounded in them, by the Chinese. Ed Reeves was a member of our Chosin Few, National, Army branch. He passed away recently..... but has joined Lt. Col. Faith and a great host of other believers around the throne of God.  Psm.115:1, Rayburn Blair

"If There Arise Among You A Prophet, Or A Dreamer Of Dreams...."

Common Sense Commentary:   These offences are not done without the Holy Spirit of God objecting and warning that offending soul to stop and repent before their conscience is seared over as with a hot iron.   "Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron...."  1Tim.4:2.

 Deuteronomy 13:1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder.... Deuteronomy 13:2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them....
  Deuteronomy 13:3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Deuteronomy 13:4 Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

Deuteronomy 13:5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee. 
Deuteronomy 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.

Leviticus 10:1 And Nadab and Abihu.... took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.
Numbers 3:4   And Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD, when they offered strange fire before the LORD....

Playing with fire is bad enough.... but "coming before the LORD" ... praying with strange fire, "which He commanded not", is ten thousand times worse.  Espousing false doctrine, teaching it to others and perverting God's word is a terminal occupation. RB


Apr 16, 2013

A Lifetime Of Blessings Missed By Judging "Appearances"

Common Sense Commentary:   Judging people or situations by appearances, gossip, speculation or suspicion has cost those who so judged far more than the ones who suffered their judgement. RB

 Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore . We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to out-patients at the clinic.
One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man. "Why, he's hardly taller than my 8-year-old," I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body. The appalling thing was his face, lopsided from swelling, red and raw.
Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, "Good evening. I've come to see if you've a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there's no bus 'til morning."
He told me he'd been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room. "I guess it's my face .... I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments .."
For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: "I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning."
I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch.. I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us. "No, thank you I have plenty." And he held up a brown paper bag.
When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn't take a long time to see that this old man had an over sized heart crowded into that tiny body. He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her 5 children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury.
He didn't tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was preface with a thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going...
At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children's room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch.
He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, "Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won't put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair." He paused a moment and then added, "Your children made me feel at home. Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don't seem to mind."
I told him he was welcome to come again.
And, on his next trip, he arrived a little after 7 in the morning. As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen! He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they'd be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m. And I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.
In the years he came to stay overnight with us, there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden.
Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk 3 miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious.
When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning.
"Did you keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!"
Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice. But, oh!, if only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear.
I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.
Recently I was visiting a friend, who has a greenhouse, as she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, "If this were my plant, I'd put it in the loveliest container I had!"
My friend changed my mind. "I ran short of pots," she explained, "and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn't mind starting out in this old pail. It's just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden."
She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven.
"Here's an especially beautiful one," God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman. "He won't mind starting in this small body."
All this happened long ago - and now, in God's garden, how tall this lovely soul must stand.
The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7b) (From a friend) RB

Apr 15, 2013

The Second Amendment as an Expression of First Principles

Common Sense Commentary:  I reprint the following article from Hillsdale College's
publication Imprimis.  Considering Professor Erler's qualifications and prominence, as well as his position as Political Science Professor at California State University, his opinion of the Second Amendment's importance is well worth reading. Obviously Out Of Obama's Oxymoron Orbit.  Earns my OOOOOO award. RB

Edward J. Erler
California State University,
San Bernardino

The Second Amendment as an Expression of First Principles

EDWARD J. ERLER is professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino. He earned his B.A. from San Jose State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. He has published numerous articles on constitutional topics in journals such as Interpretation, the Notre Dame Journal of Law, and the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. He was a member of the California Advisory Commission on Civil Rights from 1988-2006 and served on the California Constitutional Revision Commission in 1996. He is the author of The American Polity and co-author of The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration.
The following is adapted from a lecture delivered on February 13, 2013, at Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.

We are currently mired in a frantic debate about the rights of gun owners. One example should suffice to prove that the debate has become hysterical: Second Amendment supporters, one prominent but less than articulate member of Congress alleges, have become “enablers of mass murder.”
Special animus has been directed against so-called assault rifles. These are semi-automatic, not automatic weapons—the latter have been illegal under federal law since the 1930s—because they require a trigger pull for every round fired. Some semi-automatic firearms, to be sure, can be fitted with large-capacity magazines. But what inspires the ire of gun control advocates seems to be their menacing look—somehow they don’t appear fit for polite society. No law-abiding citizen could possibly need such a weapon, we are told—after all, how many rounds from a high-powered rifle are needed to kill a deer? And we are assured that these weapons are not well-adapted for self-defense—that only the military and the police need to have them.
Now it’s undeniable, Senator Dianne Feinstein to the contrary notwithstanding, that semi-automatic weapons such as the AR-15 are extremely well-adapted for home defense—especially against a crime that is becoming more and more popular among criminals, the home invasion. Over the past two decades, gun ownership has increased dramatically at the same time that crime rates have decreased. Combine this with the fact that most gun crimes are committed with stolen or illegally obtained weapons, and the formula to decrease crime is clear: Increase the number of responsible gun owners and prosecute to the greatest extent possible under the law those who commit gun-related crimes or possess weapons illegally.
Consider also that assault rifles are rarely used by criminals, because they are neither easily portable nor easily concealed. In Chicago, the murder capital of America—a city with draconian gun laws—pistols are the weapon of choice, even for gang-related executions. But of course there are the horrible exceptions—the mass shootings in recent years—and certainly we must keep assault weapons with high-capacity magazines out of the hands of people who are prone to commit such atrocities.
The shooters in Arizona, Colorado, and Newtown were mentally ill persons who, by all accounts, should have been incarcerated. Even the Los Angeles Times admits that “there is a connection between mental illness and mass murder.” But the same progressives who advocate gun control also oppose the involuntary incarceration of mentally ill people who, in the case of these mass shootings, posed obvious dangers to society before they committed their horrendous acts of violence. From the point of view of the progressives who oppose involuntary incarceration of the mentally ill—you can thank the ACLU and like-minded organizations—it is better to disarm the entire population, and deprive them of their constitutional freedoms, than to incarcerate a few mentally ill persons who are prone to engage in violent crimes.
And we must be clear—the Second Amendment is not about assault weapons, hunting, or sport shooting. It is about something more fundamental. It reaches to the heart of constitutional principles—it reaches to first principles. A favorite refrain of thoughtful political writers during America’s founding era held that a frequent recurrence to first principles was an indispensable means of preserving free government—and so it is.
The Whole People Are the Militia
The Second Amendment reads as follows: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The immediate impetus for the amendment has never been in dispute. Many of the revolutionary generation believed standing armies were dangerous to liberty. Militias made up of citizen-soldiers, they reasoned, were more suitable to the character of republican government. Expressing a widely held view, Elbridge Gerry remarked in the debate over the first militia bill in 1789 that “whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia.”
The Second Amendment is unique among the amendments in the Bill of Rights, in that it contains a preface explaining the reason for the right protected: Militias are necessary for the security of a free state. We cannot read the words “free State” here as a reference to the several states that make up the Union. The frequent use of the phrase “free State” in the founding era makes it abundantly clear that it means a non-tyrannical or non-despotic state. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), rightly remarked that the term and its “close variations” were “terms of art in 18th-century political discourse, meaning a free country or free polity.”
The principal constitutional debate leading up to the Heller decision was about whether the right to “keep and bear arms” was an individual right or a collective right conditioned upon service in the militia. As a general matter, of course, the idea of collective rights was unknown to the Framers of the Constitution—and this consideration alone should have been decisive. We have James Madison’s own testimony that the provisions of the Bill of Rights “relate [first] . . . to private rights.”
The notion of collective rights is wholly the invention of the Progressive founders of the administrative state, who were engaged in a self-conscious effort to supplant the principles of limited government embodied in the Constitution. For these Progressives, what Madison and other Founders called the “rights of human nature” were merely a delusion characteristic of the 18th century. Science, they held, has proven that there is no permanent human nature—that there are only evolving social conditions. As a result, they regarded what the Founders called the “rights of human nature” as an enemy of collective welfare, which should always take precedence over the rights of individuals. For Progressives then and now, the welfare of the people—not liberty—is the primary object of government, and government should always be in the hands of experts. This is the real origin of today’s gun control hysteria—the idea that professional police forces and the military have rendered the armed citizen superfluous; that no individual should be responsible for the defense of himself and his family, but should leave it to the experts. The idea of individual responsibilities, along with that of individual rights, is in fact incompatible with the Progressive vision of the common welfare.
This way of thinking was wholly alien to America’s founding generation, for whom government existed for the purpose of securing individual rights. And it was always understood that a necessary component of every such right was a correspondent responsibility. Madison frequently stated that all “just and free government” is derived from social compact—the idea embodied in the Declaration of Independence, which notes that the “just powers” of government are derived “from the consent of the governed.” Social compact, wrote Madison, “contemplates a certain number of individuals as meeting and agreeing to form one political society, in order that the rights, the safety, and the interests of each may be under the safeguard of the whole.” The rights to be protected by the political society are not created by government—they exist by nature—although governments are necessary to secure them. Thus political society exists to secure the equal protection of the equal rights of all who consent to be governed. This is the original understanding of what we know today as “equal protection of the laws”—the equal protection of equal rights.
Each person who consents to become a member of civil society thus enjoys the equal protection of his own rights, while at the same time incurring the obligation to protect the rights of his fellow citizens. In the first instance, then, the people are a militia, formed for the mutual protection of equal rights. This makes it impossible to mistake both the meaning and the vital importance of the Second Amendment: The whole people are the militia, and disarming the people dissolves their moral and political existence.
Arms and Sovereignty
The Preamble to the Constitution stipulates that “We the people . . . do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States.” It is important to note that the people establish the Constitution; the Constitution does not establish the people. When, then, did “we the people” become a people? Clearly Americans became a people upon the adoption of its first principles of government in the Declaration of Independence, which describes the people both in their political capacity, as “one people,” and in their moral capacity, as a “good people.” In establishing the Constitution, then, the people executed a second contract, this time with government. In this contract, the people delegate power to the government to be exercised for their benefit. But the Declaration specifies that only the “just powers” are delegated. The government is to be a limited government, confined to the exercise of those powers that are fairly inferred from the specific grant of powers.
Furthermore, the Declaration specifies that when government becomes destructive of the ends for which it is established—the “Safety and Happiness” of the people—then “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.” This is what has become known as the right of revolution, an essential ingredient of the social compact and a right which is always reserved to the people. The people can never cede or delegate this ultimate expression of sovereign power. Thus, in a very important sense, the right of revolution (or even its threat) is the right that guarantees every other right. And if the people have this right as an indefeasible aspect of their sovereignty, then, by necessity, the people also have a right to the means to revolution. Only an armed people are a sovereign people, and only an armed people are a free people—the people are indeed a militia.
The Declaration also contains an important prudential lesson with respect to the right to revolution: “Prudence . . . will dictate,” it cautions, “that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.” It is only after “a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same Object,” and when that object “evinces a design to reduce [the People] to absolute Despotism,” that “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” Here the Declaration identifies the right of revolution, not only as a right of the people, but as a duty as well—indeed, it is the only duty mentioned in the Declaration.
The prudential lessons of the Declaration are no less important than its assertion of natural rights. The prospect of the dissolution of government is almost too horrible to contemplate, and must be approached with the utmost circumspection. As long as the courts are operating, free and fair elections are proceeding, and the ordinary processes of government hold out the prospect that whatever momentary inconveniences or dislocations the people experience can be corrected, then they do not represent a long train of abuses and usurpations and should be tolerated. But we cannot remind ourselves too often of the oft-repeated refrain of the Founders: Rights and liberties are best secured when there is a “frequent recurrence to first principles.”
The Current Legal Debate
In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that for the first time held unambiguously that the Second Amendment guaranteed an individual the right to keep and bear arms for purposes of self-defense. Writing for the majority, Justice Scalia quoted Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, a work well known to the Founders. Blackstone referred to “the natural right of resistance and self-preservation,” which necessarily entailed “the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defense.” Throughout his opinion, Justice Scalia rightly insisted that the Second Amendment recognized rights that preexisted the Constitution. But Justice Scalia was wrong to imply that Second Amendment rights were codified from the common law—they were, in fact, “natural rights,” deriving their status from the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”
In his Heller dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens boldly asserted that “there is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.” In a perverse way, Justice Stevens was correct for the same reason Justice Scalia was wrong: What the Framers did was to recognize the natural right of self-defense. Like the right to revolution, the right to self-defense or self-preservation can never be ceded to government. In the words of James Wilson—a signer of the Declaration, a member of the Constitutional Convention, and an early justice of the Supreme Court—“the great natural law of self-preservation . . . cannot be repealed, or superseded, or suspended by any human institution.”
Justice Stevens, however, concluded that because there is no clause in the Constitution explicitly recognizing the common law right of self-defense, it is not a constitutional right and therefore cannot authorize individual possession of weapons. What Justice Stevens apparently doesn’t realize is that the Constitution as a whole is a recognition of the “the great natural law of self-preservation,” both for the people and for individuals. Whenever government is unwilling or unable to fulfill the ends for which it exists—the safety and happiness of the people—the right of action devolves upon the people, whether it is the right of revolution or the individual’s right to defend person and property.
Justice Scalia noted that those who argued for a collective-rights interpretation of the Second Amendment have the impossible task of showing that the rights protected by the Second Amendment are collective rights, whereas every other right protected by the Bill of Rights is an individual right. It is true that the Second Amendment states that “the people” have the right to keep and bear arms. But other amendments refer to the rights of “the people” as well. The Fourth Amendment, for example, guarantees “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizure.” But there seems to be universal agreement that Fourth Amendment rights belong to individuals.
And what of the First Amendment’s protection of “the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances?” Justice Stevens argues that these rights are collective rights. After all, he avers, “they contemplate collective actions.” It is true, the Justice concedes, that the right to assemble is an individual right, but “its concern is with action engaged in by members of a group, rather than any single individual.” And the right to petition government for a redress of grievances is similarly, he says, “a right that can be exercised by individuals,” even though “it is primarily collective in nature.” Its collective nature, he explains, means that “if they are to be effective, petitions must involve groups of individuals acting in concert.” Even though individuals may petition government for redress, it is more “effective” if done in concert with others, even though “concert” is not necessary to the existence or the exercise of the right.
With respect to assembly, Justice Stevens argues, there cannot be an assembly of one. An “assembly” is a collection of individual rights holders who have united for common action or to promote a common cause. But who could argue that the manner in which the assemblage takes place, or the form that it takes, significantly qualifies or limits the possession or exercise of the right? We might as well argue that freedom of speech is a collective right because freedom of speech is most effectively exercised when there are auditors; or that freedom of the press is a collective right because it is most effectively exercised when there are readers. Justice Stevens’ argument is thus fanciful, not to say frivolous.
The Court in Heller did indicate, however, that there could be some reasonable restrictions on gun ownership. “Longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill,” for example, will continue to meet constitutional muster. Laws that forbid “carrying firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings” are also reasonable regulations, as are “conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” The prohibition on “dangerous and unusual weapons”—including automatic firearms—fall outside Second Amendment guarantees as well.
But the Heller decision is clear that handgun possession for self-defense is absolutely protected by the Second Amendment. Can handguns be carried outside the home as part of “the inherent right of self-defense?” The Court indicated that handguns can be prohibited in “sensitive places,” but not every place outside the home is sensitive. And if carrying weapons in a non-sensitive area is protected by the Second Amendment, can there be restrictions on concealed carrying? These are all questions that will have to be worked out in the future, if not by legislation, then by extensive litigation.
The Supreme Court took a further important step in securing Second Amendment rights in McDonald v. Chicago (2010), ruling that these rights as articulated in Heller were fundamental rights, and thus binding on the states through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. We have to remember, however, that both of these cases were decided by narrow, 5-4 majorities, and that new appointments of more progressive-minded justices to the Court could easily bring about a reversal.
For the moment, Second Amendment rights seem safe, but in the long term a political defense will be a more effective strategy. As Abraham Lincoln once remarked, “Whoever moulds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes, or pronounces judicial decisions.” Shaping and informing public sentiments—public opinion—is political work, and thus it is to politics that we must ultimately resort.
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In the current climate of public opinion, Congress will have little appetite for passing an assault gun ban. More likely, it will be satisfied with passing legislation aimed at gun trafficking and tightening background checks. We must remember, however, President Obama’s pledge: “If Congress won’t act then I will.” He has already issued 23 gun-related executive orders, and some of them are rather curious. One of them notes that there is nothing in the Affordable Care Act that prevents doctors from asking patients about guns in the home; another directs “the Centers for Disease Control to research the cause and prevention of gun violence.”
The President’s power to act through executive orders is as extensive as it is ill-defined. Congress routinely delegates power to executive branch agencies, and the courts accord great deference to agency rule-making powers, often interpreting ambiguous legislative language or even legislative silence as a delegation of power to the executive. Such delegation provokes fundamental questions concerning the separation of powers and the rule of law. Many have argued that it is the price we have to pay for the modern administrative state—that the separation of powers and the rule of law have been rendered superfluous by the development of this state. Some of the boldest proponents of this view confidently insist that the triumph of the administrative state has propelled us into a post-constitutional era where the Constitution no longer matters.
The Gun Control Act of 1968 gives the President the discretion to ban guns he deems not suitable for sporting purposes. Would the President be bold enough or reckless enough to issue an executive order banning the domestic manufacture and sale of assault rifles? Might he argue that these weapons have no possible civilian use and should be restricted to the military, and that his power as commander-in-chief authorizes him so to act? Or perhaps sometime in the near future he will receive a report from the Centers for Disease Control that gun violence has become a national health epidemic, with a recommendation that he declare a national health emergency and order the confiscation of all assault weapons. Congress could pass legislation to defeat such an executive order; but could a divided Congress muster the votes?—and in any case, the President could resort to his veto power. Individuals would have resort to the courts; but as of yet, we have had no ruling that assault weapons are not one of the exceptions that can be banned or regulated under Heller. We could make the case that assault rifles are useful for self-defense and home defense; but could we make the case that they are essential? Would the courts hold that the government had to demonstrate a compelling interest for a ban on assault rifles, as it almost certainly would have to do if handguns were at issue?
Are these simply wild speculations? Perhaps—probably! But they are part of the duty we have as citizens to engage in a frequent recurrence to first principles.

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